Elephant hit by tourist bus in Malaysia dies

Pic: AFP

A wild elephant in Malaysia has died after being hit by a tourist bus on a busy highway, an official said Friday, the second pachyderm to meet its end in the area in two months.

The 10-year-old bull was killed on the road connecting the western state of Perak with Kelantan in the east, which passes through thick jungle.

"A bull elephant was knocked down by a bus and died. We have buried the animal believed to be about 10 years old," wildlife department official Loo Kean Seong told AFP.

The news comes after another two-year-old elephant was found dead along the same highway in June after being hit by a car.

Loo said there were about 350 elephants in Perak, and urged motorists to drive slowly along the highway and observe traffic signals.

"We may install electric fencing and install lights to prevent the elephants from wondering into the highways," he said.

The population of wild elephants is thought to be between 1,220 and 1,450, according to a recent estimate by Malaysia's environment ministry.

Environmentalal activist Gurmit Singh described the death of the huge mammal as a "sad day" for animal lovers.

"What do you expect? In Malaysia, drivers drive fast and probably with no proper headlights. How can you miss such a huge animal crossing?" Gurmit said.

"And it could also be due to their habitat being destroyed, forcing the elephants to move to other areas which involves crossing the highways."